I am so excited, as this year is our first Christmas with Faith! It will be so special to celebrate as a family of four, and our lovely little baby will be four months old just a few days before Christmas.
As Faith is still so tiny, she isn’t yet able to join in with a lot of our toddler Evie’s activities – but today I am sharing some really sweet and simple play ideas that we have done together. I hope that you enjoy reading :).
Rudolf footprint picture
What you will need:
Brown and red paint
Brown felt tip pen
Glue (I used hot glue)
I used a brush to spread brown paint over Faith’s foot, and she seemed to find it really interesting. I then stamped her foot onto a piece of white card.
Once the paint had dried; I stuck on the goggly eyes using hot glue, drew on the antlers with pen, and added a red nose using paint.
I think it looks adorable, and it will be lovely to look back in the future at Faith’s tiny foot!
Jingle bell anklet rattles
What you will need:
To make these little rattles; I cut the end of my elastic to a point, and threaded it though 2-3 jingle bells. I then tied together the two ends, before trimming off the excess.
Faith had fun kicking and listening to the bells jingle, and Evie also liked the anklet I made for her, too!
Glittery handprint bauble
What you will need:
A clear, empty bauble (that breaks in half)
PVA glue (slightly watered down)
Cotton wool balls
To begin; I brushed glue onto Faith’s hand, before printing it onto one half of the bauble. I then sprinkled gold glitter over the top, and added the words ‘Faith’s first Christmas’ with gold letter stickers to the other bauble half. I sealed the glittery handprint with some more glue, and put cotton wool balls in each half of the bauble. Finally, I put them together with ribbon at the top.
I think this makes a really adorable keepsake, and it will be lovely to look at for Christmases to come :).
Snowy weather tummy time
What you will need:
Tummy time or nursing pillow
Cotton wool balls
Hats and mittens
Faith enjoyed exploring the soft textures with her hands, and also smiled as Evie stroked the cotton wool balls on her cheek.
I was very careful to supervise Faith closely during this activity, in case she put any cotton wool into her mouth.
Christmas tree footprint picture
What you will need:
Green ink pad, or paint and a brush
Gold glitter glue
To create this sweet little Christmas tree, I first stamped Faith’s foot into a green ink pad (you could always use green paint). I then pressed it onto a piece of white card, and Faith really smiled. A little later, I added gold glitter glue dots to represent the lights, before adding a gold star sticker at the top.
I really like the end picture, and I’m sure that when Faith is older she will like seeing how tiny her little foot used to be!
We had lots of fun doing these activities together, and I’m so pleased that we will have some lovely keepsakes to keep and look back on as Faith gets older :).
Thank you so much for reading, and Merry Christmas!
I love creating activities for Evie, and Christmas is the perfect time of year to make some special crafts, cook together, and have fun exploring. Today I am sharing 7 Christmas themed play ideas, which will make lovely memories with your little one. I hope that you enjoy reading :).
Gingerbread play dough
What you will need:
Homemade gingerbread play dough (add 2 cups plain flour, 1 cup table salt, 1 tbsp cream of tartar, 2-3 tsp ground ginger, 2-3 tsp ground cinnamon, 2tbsp olive oil, and 1 cup of warm water in a bowl, and stir together. Give the mix a quick knead, and you have play dough!)
Christmas cookie cutters
Evie and I had fun rolling the play dough with a rolling pin, cutting out shapes, and adding buttons on top. Evie explored for a long time, and also liked rolling out balls from the dough.
Play dough is a great sensory activity for promoting creativity and fine motor skills, and something that Evie always enjoys exploring.
What you will need:
Nativity colouring printables (found on Pinterest)
To begin; I printed out the Nativity characters, cut them out and stuck them onto some white card, before cutting out each character again. I did it in this way as my card is a little too thick for our printer, but if yours isn’t, you can always print directly onto your card.
Evie had fun using her crayons to colour each character, as I told her who they were. We then stuck some craft sticks on the back to make stick puppets, and we were done!
These puppets are a lovely storytelling prop, and Faith really likes them too. We always want our girls to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and Nativity activities like this one are a great way to do that :).
Decorating wrapping paper with potato stamps
What you will need:
Brown craft wrapping paper
Metal Christmas cookie cutters
A sharp knife
To make the potato stamps; I cut some of the potato off, and pressed the rest on top of the metal cutter. I then used a sharp knife to cut the excess from around the cutter, before removing it from the potato.
Evie and I enjoyed pressing the potato cutters into paint, before stamping them onto the wrapping paper. We made yellow stars and green Christmas trees.
Salt dough angel garland
What you will need:
Salt dough (combine 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup table salt and 1/2 cup warm water, until you have formed a dough)
Essential oil (optional)
Angel cookie cutter
Skewer (or similar, to make a hole)
Baking paper lined trays
To start; I pre-heated the oven to a very low temperature, and lined two trays with baking paper. Evie and I added all of the salt dough ingredients, along with a few drops of lemon essential oil. Evie then stirred everything together, before we rolled out the dough onto a floured surface. We cut out angels from the dough, added them onto the trays, and used a metal skewer to make a hole in each wing (made slightly bigger than needed, as they close a little in the oven). I then popped them into the oven until they were hard (about 4 hours).
Once the salt dough angels had cooled, Evie had a lovely time carefully painting each one yellow.
When the glue had dried, I strung the angels onto some twine to make a Christmas garland. It looks really sweet, and makes a simple yet special decoration :).
Baking mince pies
380g plain flour
250g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
A jar of mincemeat
2 medium eggs
Icing sugar (for decorating)
Pre-heat your oven to 200c (fan oven)
Add the plain flour and butter to a large mixing bowl, and rub together with your fingers until they resemble breadcrumbs
Whisk your first egg, and add to the bowl along with the sugar
Mix together, until you have formed a dough
Pop into the fridge (in some cling film) for about 15 minutes
Roll out thinly onto a floured surface
Cut out 24 circles (12 slightly bigger, and 12 slightly smaller)
Add the 12 slightly bigger circles to a lightly greased, shallow muffin tray
Add in a spoonful of mincemeat
Add the slightly smaller circles on top to be lids, and gently press around the edges
Whisk your second egg, and brush on top of the mince pies
Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes
Remove from the oven, and after 5 minutes leave to cool on a wire rack
Sift icing sugar on top, and you’re done!
In hindsight, do I recommend making pastry with a two year old? Erm…only if you’re brave! But seriously; Evie and I both had lots of fun making these mince pies, and despite not everything going according to plan (it never does with toddlers!), they tasted yummy too.
Making Christmas cards
What you will need:
A variety of craft supplies – including paint, pens, glitter, glitter glue, stickers, and more!
Evie loves arts and crafts, and we make Christmas cards for family and friends every year. This year, a few times a week I provided Evie with various craft materials, so that she was able to create whatever she fancied.
We have ended up with so many Christmas cards (I have photographed just a few), and they are all really lovely and unique.
Making a wise man crown
What you will need:
PVA glue and brush
I cut zig-zags down the middle of the metallic silver card, and Evie had lots of fun decorating the two pieces. She spread glue, added sequins, and sprinkled lots of glitter on top!
Once the glue had dried; I measured the crown around Evie’s head, and stuck it together. Evie really likes her wise man crown, and it’s very glittery and sparkly!
These are just a selection of the Christmas activities that we have done so far, and I also have some more fun ideas planned to do together! It’s been lovely to enjoy quality time with each other as we explore, and we created some special memories to truly cherish.
Thank you so much for reading, and Merry Christmas!
In today’s post, I thought that it would be fun to share a little day in our lives. I’m a stay at home mum to Evie (aged nearly 2 1/2) and baby Faith (aged 3 months), and during this chilly weather, we enjoy slow, cosy days together.
I’m not sure if this is particularly interesting to anyone else, but I find posts like this nice to look back on. I hope that you enjoy reading :).
The day didn’t get off to the best start – as very early in the morning whilst nursing Faith in bed, she was sick all over me! Thankfully she wasn’t poorly or anything; it was just a bit of reflux I think.
I had a shower and cleaned up, while Faith happily watched me. Faith truly has the sweetest little disposition, so even though it wasn’t exactly my favourite way to begin the day – her lovely, cheeky smile put me in a good mood.
Faith then nursed again, before sleeping in my arms while I relaxed for a little while.
When Evie woke up, we had a simple breakfast of granola with milk and fresh fruit. While we ate, I read some Bible scripture aloud, and we talked about the weather outside.
When we had finished; I emptied the dishwasher, cleared up from breakfast, and did some laundry.
Faith was awake again by this time, and we all enjoyed playing together for a little while. We read books, added stickers to a Winter Wonderland colouring book, sang nursery rhymes, and played our musical instruments. Faith then had another feed, before we got ready for toddler group.
At toddler group, Evie had fun exploring outside. She rode on a scooter, jumped in puddles, played in the sandpit, and got very messy in the mud kitchen!
Faith liked watching Evie playing outside for a while, before we went inside. We discovered reflective sensory items, before I nursed her a little.
Evie had a small snack of some organic cherry rice cakes on the walk home, and Faith fell asleep in the pram.
As I didn’t want to disturb Faith by taking her out of the pram; once home, Evie and I played in the garden. We swept up some dead leaves to put onto our compost heap, before drawing with chalk. We drew pictures together, as well as practiced colours, shapes, phonics, and numbers. After a while we went inside.
Our early-mid afternoon
Once we had come in from the garden; I nursed baby Faith, before preparing our lunch. Evie often likes to help me, but on this day chose to play close-by in the living room.
A Winter themed poetry teatime
We aren’t able to have little tea parties as often anymore, but when we do it’s very special.
The day before, I prepared plain chocolate covered easy pealer oranges, and white chocolate covered spiced salted caramel pretzels. I served them alongside banana snowmen, ham and cucumber sandwiches, and some hot chocolate as a treat. The poetry book I read from was ‘Winter’, by Shirley Hughes.
Evie was really excited to have a little tea party, and Faith enjoyed listening to the poems, and Christmas songs and carols that I played afterwards.
When we had finished, I popped Faith into my soft baby carrier and she fell asleep. Evie helped me to clean up from lunch, as well as complete several household chores that needed to be done. I don’t mind if Evie doesn’t want to help me, but it’s always very sweet when she does.
After this, it was time for Evie’s nap. I read her a bedtime story, we said a prayer (I asked what she was thankful to God for, to which her answer was “paint”), and said goodnight.
Our mid-late afternoon
As Evie went down for her nap, Faith woke up! I nursed her and we played for a little while (peek-a-boo and some tummy time). I always cherish these moments, and it’s so wonderful watching Faith’s lovely little personality unfold. Faith then nursed back to sleep, while I caught up on (part of) the first episode of my favourite festive series, ‘Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas’.
Unfortunately, Faith didn’t stay asleep for long and became quite fussy. I rocked her and played some ocean sounds which she finds relaxing, and thankfully I was able to settle her in the end and start making dinner (a bit later than I’d hoped).
Chicken, Vegetable and Pearl Barley Soup Recipe
This family favourite soup is a great way to use leftover roast chicken, and also contains lots of lovely root vegetables, as well as pearl barley which has many nutritional benefits.
Served alongside some warm, crusty bread, this soup is filling enough for dinner. I am also using dried herbs as my fresh herb garden is looking a bit dead, but feel free to use fresh if you prefer.
200-230g leftover shredded roast chicken
One small swede
5-6 medium carrots
One brown onion
3 cloves of garlic
About 800ml chicken stock (I’m using homemade today)
300-500ml boiling water (depending on how thick you like your soup)
2 TSP dried thyme
2 TSP dried rosemary
A sprinkle of dried parsley
60g rinsed and drained pearl barley
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely chop your onion, mince your garlic, and chop your root vegetables into chunks.
Fry your onion in olive oil on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, before adding your garlic and frying for a further 1 minute.
Add in your root vegetables, chicken stock, herbs, and seasonings.
Boil until your vegetables are soft enough to blend.
Blend your soup mix (I use a stick blender) until smooth.
Add in your pearl barley and boiling water (this is necessary as the barley will absorp lots of liquid).
Adjust your seasonings if needed.
Bring back to the boil on a high heat for 10 minutes.
Reduce to a simmer for 50 minutes, stirring frequently and adding in your cooked chicken 10 minutes before the end.
Serve with a sprinkle of parsley on top, and some crusty bread on the side.
*Unfortunately it was too dark to get a good photo of the soup, but it tasted good!
Evie and Faith woke up at about the same time. As dinner was going to be a bit late, I gave Evie a snack of some pear. While I continued with dinner and folded a basket of clean laundry; Evie watched ‘Sarah and Duck’, and Faith played under her baby gym.
I nursed Faith, and then Evie and I ate dinner together. We talked about our day, and baby Faith enjoyed watching us from her bouncy chair. As David wasn’t yet home from work; I served some up for him to have later on.
After dinner as I cleared up; Faith watched me in her bouncy chair, and Evie played with her wooden kitchen. Evie and I then tidied away her toys, before we headed upstairs to get ready for bed.
I bathed both of the girls, we read a library book, said a prayer and had a cuddle goodnight. I then spent the evening nursing and cuddling baby Faith, as well as catching up with David who was home after a long day at work.
I love spending time with my family, and feel very blessed to have them. The days can feel long – but also lovely, with plenty of special moments to slow down and connect.
If you made it to the end of this long post, then thank you! I hope you enjoyed reading :).
I love baking treats for my family, as it’s nice to make something tasty from scratch, where I know what all of the ingredients are. We have enjoyed trying out a variety of new recipes lately, and I thought it would be fun to write about some of them here :).
Today, I’m sharing my recipe for bramble jam and banana oaty bars (although you can really use whatever jam you fancy). I hope that you enjoy reading!
2 ripe bananas
125g unsalted butter
A sprinkle of cinnamon (to taste)
150g bramble preserve
To begin; I greased and lined a baking dish, and pre-heated the oven to 160c (fan oven).
Evie and I used our hand blender to blend half of the oats into a flour consistency, before stirring them into the mixing bowl with the rest of the oats.
Evie then used a potato masher to mash up the bananas, and added them to the bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Into a saucepan I added the honey and butter, and stirred them on a low heat until the butter had melted into the honey.
I poured the honey and butter mix into the bowl, and we stirred everything to combine.
Next, Evie and I added about 2/3 of the mixture into our dish, and gently pressed down a little.
I popped the preserve into the microwave for about 20 seconds (to make it easier to spread), before we spooned and spread it over the oats mixture.
We then added the remaining 1/3 of the mix on top of the jam in little chunks (so that we could still see some jam underneath).
I put the baking dish into the hot oven to cook for about 40 minutes.
Once out if the oven, I left the dish to cool for around 45 minutes.
Finally, I removed it from the baking dish and cut into six oaty bars.
These were pretty simple to make, and used ingredients that we already had at home. We have really enjoyed eating them, and I hope if you try my recipe that you like them too!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and if you would like to see our last recipe post, you can here:
As Faith grows older and is becoming stronger, we have been able to provide more fun tummy time play activities for her. Tummy time is super important to help build Faith’s neck and shoulder muscles, as well as strength to hold up her head – all of which are vital in learning to sit up unaided.
I am also a big fan of sensory play. This type of discovery helps to build nerve connections in the brain, which supports your little one as they grow. Other benefits of sensory play include developing things such as fine motor skills, cognitive development, language, understanding of the world, problem solving skills, and coordination.
Your little one will learn and develop these skills from everyday life. For example, as you walk them in the pram – they may feel the gentle breeze, smell the bread as you pass a bakery, and hear the sound of cars driving by.
So if you aren’t able to do activities like this together, there really isn’t any need to worry (as long as your baby is still having tummy time throughout the day). These are simply just fun little ways to play, and introduce your baby to some new experiences. I hope that you enjoy reading my ideas!
Please note: it is extremely important to closely supervise all of these activities. While these play ideas are fun, they can present choking or suffocation risks to your little one if left unattended.
Ribbons and scrap fabric
I enjoy crafting, and often have things such as leftover scrap fabric, ribbon, lace, and elastic in my supplies.
I layed out some different soft materials for Faith to explore, and Evie enjoyed joining in as well. I described the various fabrics using words such as “soft” and “velvety”, and Faith was interested as she felt each one. I then took Faith’s socks off and sat her in front of me, so that she could discover the materials with her feet.
For this tummy time activity, I put some colourful feathers into a tray for Faith to explore. She was able to feel the soft, fluffy feathers with her hands, as well as see all of the different colours.
Patterned scarves make a great sensory play activity – as they are soft to touch, and the bright, colourful designs are interesting for Faith to look at.
Foil blankets are super cheap, and make such a lovely sensory experience. Faith enjoys rustling and scrunching it with her hands, as well as seeing how it reflects.
Foam letters and water
For this tummy time play; I put a small amount of water into a tray, along with some foam letters for Faith to explore.
Evie also joined in, and Faith looked very interested as she gently splashed her hands in the water, and watched Evie play. It was really sweet to observe, and I’m sure that over time Faith will be able to learn a lot from Evie.
Faith finds looking in the mirror really interesting (at this age she will think it’s another baby), and will smile at and try to touch her reflection.
I made these sensory sticks when Evie was small, and they now make a nice thing for Faith to discover.
To make these double sided sensory sticks: I stuck on various materials (such as buttons, felt, and ribbon) onto colourful jumbo craft sticks. Each of the sticks has different textures to explore, and Faith has enjoyed feeling them.
A little surprisingly, this was one of Faith’s favourite sensory play activities! I put some brown shredded paper in front of Faith’s tummy time pillow, and she seemed really interested as she felt and rustled it.
These are just a selection of sensory play tummy time activities that I have provided for Faith. She has really seemed to have fun exploring and discovering, and I’m looking forward to trying out new play ideas as she grows :).
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you enjoyed it!
I love spending time with my two year old, Evie, so much. She makes me laugh every day with the random things she says, she gives the loveliest cuddles, and every day has a little adventure in store.
However, as with all toddlers – it’s not all sunshine’s and rainbows (although Evie does love both)! There are some days where Evie is feeling grumpy, or her behaviour can be a bit challenging. So I thought that I would make this post in case it helps anyone else :).
If we are having a ‘bad’ day (or morning or afternoon), it’s firstly important to figure out why that is. If I’ve ruled out any physical things such as feeling tired, hungry, or poorly, then I can usually narrow the challenging behaviour down to two things:
Evie is just being a normal two year old. Nearly all of toddlers’ actions are based off emotions, rather than logic. They have big feelings, and are still figuring so much out. I find it helps me to have a fairly good understanding of child development, as then I can respond accordingly.
Evie needs connection. Please note – I’m not rewarding behaviour I don’t want to see. But as much as I try to be present with Evie; sometimes that’s not possible, and I am busy/distracted. Obviously I still have responsibilities other than just Evie, but as soon as I’m able to; I make quality, uninterrupted time with her a priority.
So with that being said – let’s jump right into the simple ways I try to turn a bad day around!
Taking a walk
Sometimes a change of scenery and some fresh air is just what everyone needs! We can listen to birdsong, jump in puddles, and talk about all of the things we see as we take a little walk around the neighbourhood.
Having a dance party
If things are feeling a bit stressful or tense at home, then I will sometimes pop some music on and we’ll have a dance party!
It helps Evie to burn some energy and get her wiggles out, and she’s a good little mover too! Having a dance party is a great way to press the ‘reset’ button, and move on from any negativity by having a giggle together.
Finding some local toddler groups
We have gone to baby/toddler groups (the ones where the parent stays) on and off since Evie was about three months old. But once Evie turned two, I found that she really started to benefit more from them, and we now aim to attend a few a week with baby Faith in tow.
We are very fortunate as our local area has a nice variety of groups to attend. If you are wondering what groups are available where you live, then I recommend looking online at your local children’s centre, or seeing what’s available at your nearest library. I’m pretty shy and going along to groups for the first time can feel a bit overwhelming. But I try to remind myself that I’m not alone, and that most parents probably feel the same way.
If you’re able to visit them; toddler groups are a fantastic way to try out something new with your little one, and will help them to burn energy as they run around and learn new things.
All the bubbles!
Can any toddler resist bubbles?! There is something almost therapeutic about watching soapy bubbles floating around, and Evie loves popping and stamping on them.
Watching a movie
Although we generally try to limit too much screen time; sometimes a snuggle on the sofa and a film is just perfect.
Evie and I will cuddle up or hold hands, and simply just enjoy sharing the experience of watching a film together. Evie also skips naps sometimes now too, so it can make a nice restful thing to do instead.
We love reading books together, and making a fort to read inside of brings a little extra magic. I will also bring down some ‘special’ books that Evie doesn’t always have access to which we both enjoy. As I write this – I realise that we haven’t made a fort in ages, so it may be time to make one!
‘Process’ arts and crafts
Evie loves arts and crafts, and I usually tend to let her lead the way in what she would like to create. This helps Evie’s confidence, as well as encouraging skills such as creativity, imagination, and problem solving.
I find that crafts based on the process rather than the outcome, are even more important when Evie isn’t in the best mood. If I try to direct her play too much, it seems to cause further frustration – so instead I will just provide Evie with a selection of materials to explore, with me watching nearby.
Evie finds crafts very relaxing I think, and they give her something to focus on as she creates. Also, admiring her work afterwards is always guaranteed to put a little smile on her face :).
…But always remember, you can’t ‘fix’ everything…
Nor do I believe you should.
I think it’s really important for Evie to work through her emotions – whether that’s bordem, frustration, or disappointment. Of course I am always there for her, providing support or comfort when needed, but I don’t think it’s good always be distracting her whenever she isn’t happy.
Over time, Evie needs to learn how to respond to her emotions – because (speaking from experience here) as much as it’s important to acknowledge them, we shouldn’t necessarily let them control us.
These little ideas are just meant as fun ways to help turn around a grumpy day, as it can be so easy to get stuck in a rut (especially while sleep deprived with a small baby)!
I hope you liked reading my simple ideas, and I’d love to know if you have any to share with me. Thank you so much for reading :).
Evie and I love cooking together, so I thought that it would be fun to share some of what we get up to in the kitchen.
Today, I’m sharing how we made these festive cranberry, orange, and white chocolate cookies. I hope that you enjoy reading!
125g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
125g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 medium egg
Zest of one large or two small oranges
1/2 TSP orange extract
225g self-raising flour
150g dried cranberries
100g white chocolate
To begin, I pre-heated our oven to 160c (fan oven).
Evie and I creamed together the butter, caster sugar, and light brown sugar using a wooden spoon.
We then whisked an egg, and grated the zest from two small oranges (it’s important to be really careful when using a grater, but I’m happy for Evie to help me), and added them to the bowl.
Next, we stirred the mixture to combine.
After measuring our self-raising flour, we added it to the mixing bowl, along with the orange extract and dried cranberries.
We stirred once more, until we had made cookie dough.
Evie and I then made balls of cookie dough, and added them to two baking paper lined trays. We were careful not to place them too close together, as they expand whilst in the oven (we made 16 large cookies altogether).
I placed the baking trays into the hot oven, and baked the cookies for about 10-12 minutes.
Once out of the oven; I left the cookies for a few minutes, before transferring them to cool completely.
Finally, I melted a bar of white chocolate, so that Evie and I could drizzle it over the top of our festive cookies.
Evie and I had such a lovely time baking these tasty cookies together, and baby Faith enjoyed watching us from nearby.
I hope that you like my simple recipe, and thank you so much for reading :).